Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud

I'm finishing this book exactly two years late. It was supposed to be the book that kicked off a book club in January 2011 when it was just made very popular. Its unconventional leather bound first run of print had it re-selling for over $100 on ebay, creating a nice buzz. Who were these people buying a simple novel, of a first time author for $100? The next popular acclaim was winning the 2010 Giller Prize

Due to many complications the proposed book club of 2011 dissolved before it even made it to it's first book discussion. I was relieved, because it's a sad book, with war and infidelity staining it's pages, so I stopped reading even though I was 3/4's in.

Going through my bookshelf, I decided now is as good a time as any to finish what was started. The imagery is so strong, that even two years later, I vividly remembered passages. I felt like it dragged on at the beginning (it starts in Fargo), but it's real life, written like real life.

It is sentimental, and saddening, with vivid imagery the whole way through. Here are some quotes I enjoyed:
"As though I could, if I wished, take myself apart like a Russian doll and find myself in layers there, each one smaller, and more hollowed than the last."

"...sometimes now I'm astonished by the audacity of any attempt, including my own, at understanding anything at all."
"We were just like elephants, crashing around. Elephants, working for the government. Wanting coffee and smokes"

"My stories are all and then, and then, and then, when it didn't happen like that to me"

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